Grace Under Fire

Luke 13:22-30:

Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from. And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”


Grace is a topic debated by many modern Christian denominations.  Some say that we will enter the Kingdom of Heaven if and only if we receive Jesus Christ in our hearts.  Others say that it’s what we do after we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts that will determine if we will enter into Heaven.  But what does Jesus, Himself, say about Grace?  Regardless of whichever side of the “Grace-fence” we sit on, per Jesus, both viewpoints are correct.  At a minimum, we cannot enter into Heaven unless we accept Jesus and, at a maximum, Jesus promises to judge us by our earthly works (or, better said, how well we loved in this world).  That’s how people will be confused when Jesus tells them at their judgement that they are not welcome into His Kingdom.  They will know 100% about the person of Jesus Christ, but they will not “Know” Jesus working in their hearts and lives.  You see, per Jesus, if we truly accept Him into our hearts, everything (and He means everything) in our lives will change.  Too many of us accept the “bits” and “pieces” of what Jesus tells us in Scripture, but they don’t accept the “whole enchilada” that is the Bible.  George Barna (from the Barna Research Group) put it this way – from his Company’s research, he found that only 6% of Christians in the U.S. today have a Biblical worldview (meaning, seeing the world through the lens of Jesus Christ’s Word).  He goes on to say that the trend that his Company is seeing is that modern people are moving toward what he calls a “patchwork Faith” (meaning, folks believe in the best, most comforting parts of many different modern Religions and create their “own Faith”).  That’s alarming.  Can you and I say today that we see the world and everyone in it the way that Jesus does (even those of us who consider ourselves to be “Devout” Christians)? Have we been radically changed by the Gospels?  Let’s dare to be part of the “few” and not the “many” that Jesus describes via His Narrow Gate Parable.  Let’s “Know” Him through His Word – and not just the “sound bites”, but through all of It – and let’s let Him change us from the inside-out.  There is no New Testament without the Old Testament and there is no Salvation to those who are not “strong enough” to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven by the narrow gate.  Our Spiritual “nourishment” (to strengthen us) comes from the Lord and His Word alone – even when we have to “eat” some things that we, in this life at our own tables, do not want to have to “digest”.

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